Burger night with a twist


Someone was asking me if I ever thought about posting vegan recipes …. clearly I haven’t been doing enough lately so I thought I would do a wee re-blog from 2018. These burgers do take a bit of effort but they are oh so worth it. The best thing is you can substitute the beans for another type if needed and likewise with the carrot, beetroot is great in them. So without any more burgering around – little inside joke there re my spelling as a child for a takeaway order. I’ll let you imagine how that went :)- here it is ………

At the moment we are cruising down the the surf highway (45) around the back of Mt Taranaki.  It has been a fantastic trip with hardly any traffic, amazing scenery of surf, bush, farms, mountains all mixed together and some powerful history to find out about. It is certainly an amazing part of NZ and my highlight so far has been to finally get to Parihaka.  Since learning about the peaceful resistance to Colonial forces, lead by Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, in my uni days I have been wanting to come an see it for myself. These two even inspired Gandhi with their tactics.

Cape Egmont Lighthouse (with Mt Taranaki) near Parihaka

All this catching up with family, meeting with other road-schooling families (completely by accident), touring around visiting historic sites, having bonfires and enjoying the warm days that Taranaki have been providing has given me a bit of a hankering for burgers (probably as I watched others munching into bbq food) so finally tonight I got out our old favourite recipe and got cracking.Β  There’s nothing like burgers, salad and hedgehog potatoes with a view of the sea.

The sea out one side and the mighty Mt Taranaki out the other

These burgers are so easy and so yummy that even the carnivorous among us has been having second helpings!  I confess here and now that I can’t remember where I got the idea for these however I do know that I have ‘butchered’ the original so much that even they may not recognize it πŸ˜‰  Until last year I had been just buying our vegan burgers until my sister asked how I made them and the guilt set in.  This recipe can be easily adapted to your liking by changing the beans you put in, using red onion instead of brown, adding spice, having beetroot instead of carrot or using ground nuts instead of flour to firm up the mixture … the possibilities to get your perfect recipe are endless!

Almost ready

Vegan Burgers

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup of water – to cook the quinoa in

1 onion

1 can of drained and rinsed beans – black, red kidney or whatever your favourite is

2 grated carrots  – small to med size

Veg stock powder – I use Massel


1/2 -3/4 cup GF flour – to firm up the mixture

  • Cook the quinoa in the water until almost all the water has gone then take off the heat, cover and put aside.
  • Finely dice onion and fry off until slightly clear.
  • Add grated carrot and beans to the onion and fry a bit longer before adding tamari and veg stock powder to taste.
  • Turn off heat and mash together until blended then add cooked quinoa and mix again.
  • Slowly add GF flour until the mixture is firm enough to form into patties.
  • Place in a frying pan and cook on each side to brown (see photo)
  • ENJOY in a bun, with some salad or whatever your favourite kai is

Hope this finds you smiling and spotting all the great things life has to offer.




Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney


This is re-blog from a couple of years ago as it is a recipe which gets used each year at this time of year. While we have a couple of feijoa trees they aren’t that productive so once again we were grateful for the many generous neighbours who have shared their bounty.

Feijoa season is upon us here in NZ and we are consuming them by the dozen! They are one of my favourite fruit and one that until very recently you never saw in the supermarket which made it all the more special and tasty when they were in season.  One of the best things about them though is that there is never any doubt when they are ready as they fall when ripe and lay just waiting for you to come along and collect them.

Monster Feijoas from a neighbour

However even I have limits of how much fresh feijoa I can consume, so when we were gifted a huge box of huge feijoas it was time to search out my chutney recipes.  I do have a great feijoa recipe (shared it a while back if you want an alternative) which is super easy however as I was searching for my paper copy of it I stumbled across a chutney recipe from my grandmother which looked like it might just hit the spot on this occassion.

The thing that really appealed to me however was the name (Mt Peel Chutney) as I just been doing a bit of research on the Māori name for Mt Somers, where our family originally settled, to add to my pepeha. for my next Māori lesson.  While they are different places they are in the same area, for those of you outside NZ, or Canterbury, Mt Somers is only about 40 min drive to Mt Peel, and our family worked, had land and lived all around that area.  So …… I’m guessing this recipe may just be a family one, as I couldn’t find anything online with same name. Well that’s my story now anyway and I’m sticking to it πŸ˜‰

Ready to bottle up

Below is the feijoa version of this chutney that I have made though the original recipe actually says 2lb fruit (just under a kg).  As feijoas are quite ‘juicy’ you’ll see that I have increased the amount of fruit to 1.5 kg just to give it a bit more chunk rather than liquid.  Being my usual, time efficient, self I simply top and tail the feijoa and roughly dice. Then once the mixture has boiled and softened I give it a quick mash to help blend it all.  I have also used coconut sugar for the first time, not because I think it is better than sugar (honey is out for the vegan’s on the bus) but because himself has decided he doesn’t want to eat refined sugarcane anymore ….. always keeping us on our toes that one!!

Anyway here it is and I’m sure you will be able to adapt it to your own kitchen supplies and preferences, just as I constantly do. πŸ™‚

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney – Feijoa version

400 gm coconut sugar (or any other sugar of your choice)

500 gm raisins

750 ml white vinegar

1.5 kg feijoa (topped and tailed then diced)

4 cloves garlic

A few good grinds of salt

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Optional: If you like a really spicy chutney then add in some fresh chopped chilies

  • Boil fruit, sugar and vinegar together till soft and brown.
  • Give a quick mash or blend if you want a smoother chutney.
  • Take off the heat and add the seasonings. Stir well and blend if you like your chutney smooth or leave as it is if you like your chutney chunky.
  • Bottle and label.  Heat jars in the oven before hand to sterilize and avoid cracking with hot chutney.

See, couldn’t be easier …. just my kind of recipe!!  Hope this finds you relaxing and easing through life with joy.






April 25th tomorrow and another ANZAC day to commemorate. Years ago, while herself was completing an ANZAC day project, we discovered that themselves had a closer to connection to this day than we realized; making the day just a light more meaningful to us as a family. Through himself Snr’s side of the family they actually have an ancestor who served in Gallipoli. George Thorpe joined the Australian 2nd Light Horse Brigade, becoming solider #662, on 19th November 1914 at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, New South Wales.

George was an Irishman who had served the empire already in the Boer War. Somehow though he found himself in Australia just as the war broke out. I’m sure the pressure would have been felt, if not externally then internally, to sign up especially as an experienced solider. That decision may have been made all the easier as he didn’t have any dependents with him at the time; having left his wife and four children in Ireland. One of which was his youngest daughter and himself Snr’s maternal grandmother. We may never know the reason for George leaving Ireland and his family behind despite all our questions and theories. Was it to forge a better life? Were the family to follow? Was it to earn money to send home? Or had the relationship with his wife broken down beyond repair?

Whatever the reason it seems that George arrived in the state of Victoria, as many Irish did, and possibly worked as a cook in Bundalaguah area before heading to Sydney to enlist in 1914. George was sent straight to the action of Gallipoli in 1915. He was then was admitted into Rochester Row Hospital in the early part of 1916 for injury and/or illness before going back into action in France later that year. As the war progressed, and he had another stint in hospital in 1917, George was transferred to the 4th Battalion (Infantry) before being killed on 18th May 1918 in France. He has a plaque on the Roll of Honour commemorative area (panel 42) of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and is forever remembered within his family.

This year, for the first time, themselves will be wearing replicas of the medals George was awarded when they attended the local ANZAC parade. a special moment for the three of them. Of course here in New Zealand and Australia when ANZAC day rolls around with poppies worn and parades attending there is usually a morning tea after the parade where you’ll often see ANZAC biscuits making an appearance. While it is actually just a popular myth that these wee treasures were sent to soldiers in the field due to their ability to travel well (the ingredients not spoiling too fast) it is true that they now are linked in everyone’s minds with that Gallipoli campaign, the first world war and ANZAC day.

So with that in mind I thought I would create a batch and share it here. There are many recipes I know but this one from the good old Edmonds Cookbook which is another mainstay of kiwi life is usually my go-to. To ensure that everyone in the house can enjoy some biscuits I did substitute the butter for Nuttelex (vegan butter) this year. It is a super quick and easy recipe for any time of the year and and if you’re like me and go to make them then realise that you don’t have any golden syrup …. fear not as they still work out a treat πŸ™‚

ANZAC biscuits

  • 100 gm butter (or a vegan butter of your choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water

-Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pot.

-Mix in sugar then add in the coconut, oats and flour. Β Stir well to combine.

-Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add into the main mixture.

-Place evenly sized balls onto a lined tray and then press down with a fork. The mixture may seem crumbly however once you start rolling it into a ball it comes together fine …. you may need to just hold each biscuit/ball as you press with the fork though.

-Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until golden

-Cool on a rack and enjoy.

Hope this finds you safe, free from the worries of war and remembering those who have gone before us.




Hot Cross Buns time


I know, I know …. I’m a bit late in posting this for Easter but I forgot all about sharing this last week and posted my macaroon slice instead. Surely it is better late than never?! Well, hopefully πŸ™‚

With Good Friday comes hot cross buns of course however since we have Vegans in the house we had to put a bit of thought into the whole process over the years. With the cost of using butter these days more and more things in the bakery section are actually vegan … hot cross buns included… thankfully. Well that is at our local supermarket anyway and it is always good to check with the Bakery department to confirm. They are well sort after items though so a few years ago themselves had a simple, yet effective, solution of creating our own vegan hot cross buns at home.

Some gluten free buns almost ready to go in the oven … just need a bit of flattening πŸ™‚

By adding some spices and raisins to our damper recipe we were able to create our own quick and easy hot cross buns – dairy, egg and sugar free (until the jam is splodged on that is). While we have played around with creating crosses on our buns in the past it has been a mixture of wins and losses so this year I just went for the good old basic version; cross free. We have tried both Gluten and Gluten free versions, topped with jam and some veganΒ Dark Chocolate peanut butter, and both have been enjoyed. I have to say that the gluten version is much less painful!

If you are keen on creating gluten free buns then they are best eaten warm on the day. They also need something to help bind the mixture. I have used a flax egg (1 Tb ground linseed and 1.5 Tb cold water) along with bit of extra moisture, depending on which GF flour you use, to get the correct consistency. I have also use an egg replacer with the gluten free version to help with the binding effect which the gluten provides in the other recipe. When using the egg replacer you often need to add a bit more flour in as the dough ends up on the runnier side due to the amount of water they suggest mixing in. As usual though with many GF recipes, especially bready ones, it is often going for the correct consistency/texture over set measurement πŸ™‚

Good to go with a huge dollop of jam!

Whichever way you create these there is one thing for certain. The smell of spiced baking in the oven definitely makes it feel like Easter and a treat waiting to be enjoyed.

Hot Spiced Buns – Vegan

1 3/4 Cup of plain flour ( or GF flour and see notes above)

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tb oil

3/4 cup of cold water

3 tsp mixed spice

1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit if you like)

  • Mix all ingredients until they form a dough, add more flour and/or liquid as required.
  • Split the dough into 8 pieces and roll into bun shapes
  • Flour or line a tin and place the bun shapes in so that they are touching. With the GF ones I push them down a little so they are flatter and a ‘good’ shape as they don’t rise the same.
  • Bake at 200 C for 20-25 mins. Gluten free version will take a little longer
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy with jam πŸ˜‰

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy and rested after the long weekend




Macaroon Slice


It is the final week of Infant Massage this week. It has been a great course and while it has been a little different than other times as far as numbers attending I have really appreciated those who have come regularly. It is always so lovely to watch how the babies grow and develop over the course of six weeks and also how they grow to love getting a full body massage. Teaching this course is something which I never tire of and teaching at the Women’s Centre is something I am always very grateful for too.

A previous group of awesome mamas and bubbas

In the past I have offered this course over five weeks so this one is a little different in having a sixth week. Having that extra week also meant I needed another tasty morning tea offering …. time to try a new recipe. While I have made macaroons in the past it was before I became vegan. Eggs and honey weren’t going to cut it this time. After a bit of a search online though I managed to find a good vegan macaroon recipe (Thanks A Virtual Vegan) which wasn’t too complicated. As I read the recipe though and saw how they had used an ice cream scoop to get perfect sized treats and realized that I may have to modify the recipe a little. For one I didn’t have the scoop to place them beautifully on the tray, which in and of it’s self wasn’t a biggie, but I really felt the desire to have a slice this week. The thought of not having mucky hands also appealed πŸ™‚

So …. I have basically adapted the original ingredients into a new format. In the original recipe she states not to use shredded coconut as it won’t work but as that was the majority of the coconut I had it was included in my version. Waste not, want not! By having the shredded coconut as a base I still needed to add the finer desiccated coconut though to absorb some of the moisture. I also increased the cooking time a little due to the coconut being cooked in a tin as a slice rather than smaller amounts. Then once the coconut part was cooled I melted chocolate to pour on top …. as I said pretty much the same ingredients just put together a little differently πŸ™‚

While none of the mamas or bubbas in this course have any allergies or food preferences I like to make the most of the opportunity to try some recipes and introduce others to vegan baking. With Easter looming this week too it may just make a good break from all the eggs while still giving you a chocolate hit.

Macaroon Slice

2 cups of shredded coconut (the big long stuff)

1 cup of desiccated coconut (the fine small stuff)

1/2 cup of sugar

5 Tablespoons of Cornflour

1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons canned coconut cream (I used Fia Fia brand which is thick and creamy)

100gm Dark Chocolate approx (depends on how thick you like your chocolate topping)

Sprinkle of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 140 -150 C
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Blend well so everything is combined
  • Add the coconut cream and add some more desiccated coconut if the mixture is still too wet. It should be able to hold together without any liquid coming out. Mix really well.
  • Place mixture in a baking paper lined baking tin which is around 21 x 21cm (I like the ones that can put apart so you don’t have to risk breaking the slice) and pack down evenly
  • Bake for 25-30 mins or until a little golden on top
  • Allow to cool in the tin in the oven
  • Once the coconut part has cooled use a double boiler to melt the chocolate
  • Pour the melted chocolate onto the coconut base, spreadly evenly, and then place in the fridge to help set
  • Once the chocolate has set remove from the tin and slice into pieces using a warm knife
  • Enjoy

Hope this finds you having a wonderful weekend and looking forward to an awesome Easter break … however that looks for you.




So easy snacker-balls


So, I’m still taking advantage of a few re-blogs especially as they are relevant to my week ahead. Each week I create something in my kitchen to nourish the mamas who attend my Infant Massage courses and this week I am going with a tried and true recipe. So quick and easy while being oh so delicious and nutritious.

From May 2019 …. The sun is still shining here and for the end of May the days are surprisingly warm …. especially in our little sun trap.  So with the temperature outside being balmy for this time of year and the temperature inside being hot, due to babies needing to be fully undressed for massage, I thought that a cooler treat would be ideal last week.

Making the most of the good weather …. walking up Hapuku River

These super easy treats came about, as many things do, through my resistance to pay for something that I was sure I could make at home.  That ‘give it a go’ mentally is definitely a kiwi trait I think, definitely a very strong trait of mine anyway. Combine that with a bit of frugal living and … well … you end up trying to create at home (making 45 of them) what would cost you $9 in the supermarket for just 10 balls.  Back then I named these little treats Snackerballs, after themselves telling me that they weren’t ‘Frooze balls’ ….. then low and behold a year or two later I see that ‘Snackaballs’ appeared on the shelves.  Obviously onto a good thing with the name back then, shame I didn’t trademark it πŸ™‚

These are another ‘one pot wonder’ which you can whip up quickly and easily, adjusting them to your taste-buds pretty easily.  I just store them in the fridge so they can be made whenever and last for ages … if they aren’t gobbled up before that.  Over the years of making these we have tried lots of variations; adding different things like cranberries at Christmas, grated chocolate, nuts, seeds, carob and recently ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds).  We found Healtheries LSA Superfruits , which is super yum, a while ago when making some apple crumble and I have to say that adding this did give the snackerballs a bit more firmness which I quite liked. Though it does have a bit of sugar added to it (in the blueberries for some reason) which some of you may what to avoid.  

Anyway here is the basic recipe I worked out and then the only limit is your imagination!


  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground LSA (optional)

-Soak the dates in the water for 10-15 mins and then mash into a smooth paste – of course if you have a blender this is easier πŸ™‚

-Stir in the other ingredients and mix until fully blended

-Shape the mixture into small balls (makes around 45 with this recipe) and put into a container.

-Refrigerate and enjoy

Packed up and ready to go to class

Hope this finds you all enjoying tasty treats with your loved ones.




Too Good to Resist Brownie


Week two of my current Infant Massage course and we’re onto the sweet stuff! I haven’t made this brownie for a few years as it really is too good (and hard) to resist!! Even without having to worried about dietary requirements this vegan and gluten free brownie is still my favourite ….. even the apprentice baker in the house has given it their seal of approval. This is may be the only recipes I make which involves accurate measurement and baking temperature but the results are so worth the extra effort. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m more of a slap, dash, one pot/bowl kind of baker so the fact that I have made an exception with repeatedly making this recipe may give you an idea of how delicious this brownie is πŸ™‚

From Novemember 2020 ……. Well it’s been a very long time since I have been on here. Life just seems to have ticked along and without any Infant Massage course mamas to nourish I haven’t really been doing that much baking.

Checking out the Manawatu over the long weekend here in NZ

It is the first time I have had lots of allergies in the class so my planned chocolate cookies were out and I needed to find a good alternative. Start the internet search for something just as chocolatey! Thankfully Loving it Vegan came to the rescue with their awesome Vegan Gluten Free Brownie recipe

I have to say that this is the best brownie I have had in a long time – both before and after becoming vegan. Even the non-vegans in and around the house were fighting to get a piece of this delicious stuff πŸ˜‰ While it is vegan and gluten free it is far, far, far from being sugar free! Probably best baked when you have a crowd to feed as it is very hard to resist having ‘just one more piece’.

Delicious vegan and gluten free brownie

I haven’t made any changes to this recipe however as there is quite a lot of ads and writing before the recipe appears on Loving it Vegan, I thought I would share it here as I used it and highlight some key parts.

The original blog post has both cup and weight measurements however I found that my NZ cup measures didn’t equal the South African weights given. For best results I just went with weights which is what I’ll share below along with the NZ options for great vegan chocolate ….. Whittakers of course πŸ™‚

Another thing I learnt when trialing this recipe was that you need a tin that can separate (expandable ones are perfect). The brownie is very dense and heavy so trying to remove it from the tin only resulted in ripped paper and broken up brownie …. much to themselves delight I must say. Thankfully I had just such a tin that I picked up in a second hand shop ages ago that expands from a square tin to a rectangle. If you can’t find one or don’t have one then the circular tins with the removable bottom would be the best bet.

The last bit of vital information is to know the actual temperature of your oven. When I first cooked this brownie it came out a bit too gooey so taking the advice from the blog I got my trusty oven thermometer out – thanks Linette πŸ™‚ – and checked where things were at. The inside oven temp was about 30C below what the dial said so once I cranked it up a bit and retested we were good to go. Of course you can just bake it a bit longer too πŸ™‚

So without anymore chatter onto the recipe ……

Vegan GF brownie

  • 272gm GF flour (I used Edmonds)
  • 84gm cocoa powder
  • 400gm white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb instant coffee
  • 240ml soy buttermilk (240ml regular soy milk and 1Tb fresh lemon juice combined and left to curdle)
  • 240ml coconut oil (240gm of hard coconut oil melted … but you do need to scrap all of the melted oil from the pot)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chunks (Whittakers Dark Ghana smashed up)
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chips (Pak n Save have these)

– Pre heat the oven to 180 C (check your oven temp and adjust if necessary)

– Mix the soy milk and lemon juice and leave to curdle

– In a separate bowl combine all the sugar, flour, cocoa, coffee salt and baking powder and mix well

– Add melted coconut oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined

– Add buttermilk and mix well

– Add chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. Mix well.

– Pour into a lined square tin (preferably one that you can separate)

– Bake for 40 mins or until the top cracks and only thing on the cake tester is possibly chocolate.

– Leave to cool for 15 mins before removing from the tin then put on a cooling rack.

RESIST the urge to slice and eat now …. it is so much better completely cold – we know, we tried πŸ™‚

– When the brownie is completely cooled then cut into pieces with a hot knife.

Well that is it for this week ….. see you next time I’m inspired to get into the kitchen πŸ™‚




Connection Challenge & Vegan Flapjacks


From March 2020 ……

We are into our second week of lock-down here in New Zealand though many here have decided to use a Māori reference of rāhui instead.  I kind of like that term so may begin adopting it … rather than using a term of imprisonment! I have to be honest though and say that not much has actually changed for our whānau aside from Himself working from home and the few activities we partook in being cancelled.  We are now adjusting to online keyboard lessons, judo via YouTube and Rangers (Girl Guides) on Zoom πŸ™‚


It has given me a bit more time to do some other work, hence the time to blog and bake πŸ™‚  It has also inspired me to create a bit of a challenge for people – a connection challenge.  With the mail stopped (well for us anyway) and all these businesses bombarding my inbox with their updates I thought it would be great to receive some real mail from friends and family.  I have begun with an email to a friend, themselves have done likewise.

The best thing is that it made me feel great that I may be putting a smile on someone’s face and that there may just be an email coming back to put a smile on mine!  I know that everyone has gone on social media more but there is nothing like a personal letter/email to really make you feel that you are connected.  All the more important at the moment when you can’t physically connect. It could be to a loved one, a friend or even someone you have admired for a while.  Copy the photo below and share as much as you want on Social media …. just get writing as well πŸ™‚

Connection challenge with border
Give it a go … it will make you feel great!

So I thought I should give you a bit of nourishment to see you through all those letters/emails of connection that you’ll be writing πŸ™‚  This is a flapjack recipe which I have adapted to make it vegan.  I only discovered these delicious morals when we lived in Ireland and then I couldn’t get enough of them!  Those of you in Ireland and the UK will know them well with the name flapjack.  Those of you in NZ may know them as porridge biscuits … so I have been informed.  Either way they are a quick, easy and delicious treat.

Vegan Flapjacks

300gm rolled oats (the smaller ones are better)

50gm desiccated coconut

75gm coconut sugar

125gm coconut oil

40ml maple syrup

  • Melt oil and stir in sugar and maple syrup until well mixed.
  • Add to rolled oats and coconut mixture and mix well again.
  • Place in a baking paper lined tin (I used 23cm x 20 cm size tin).Β  Pressing it down flat as much as possible.
  • Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins or until you can see that the oats are golden. 160 C if you have a fan oven
  • Take out of the oven and score into squares while it is warm.
  • Allow to cool fully in the tin before removing.Β  Β Storing them in the fridge to really set them is good as the coconut oil does soften quickly
  • ENJOY!
Warm out of the oven

Until the next blog … whenever that fancy grabs me …. kia ora, kia kaha ā kia manawanui (Be well, be strong and be patient)




Sweet treats


For a long time now I have been trying to make vegan meringues. I say trying because aside from an initial failed attempt when I was sugar free I have thought about this more than actually doing anything. So, with Christmas coming up and the vegans in the house trying to think of yummy stuff we can indulge in, vegan meringues have come onto my radar again.

Mum had traditionally made meringues with themselves whenever we went there for Christmas …. well they watched and got to lick the egg beater afterwards which is probably the best way to bake if you ask me! But since those times, himself and I have become vegan and Mum is no longer with us. So, meringues (and pavlova but that is another topic) have been dropped from the menu for quite awhile.

This year though I decided to change that and with a tin of chickpeas in hand I began to look up vegan meringue recipes. Last time, without sugar, my meringues didn’t set hard and definitely still tasted very chickpea flavoured. Not such a delicious dessert it has to be said. It was clearly a memory etched into himself’s head as he actually tried to dissuade me from even trying them again! Not one to be deterred easily though, once my mind was set on something, I stumbled on. Thanks to the internet and The Plant Based School I found a quick and easy recipe to follow …. you must know my style by now don’t you πŸ™‚ Just aquafaba (chickpea juice from the can) and sugar whizzed together and then baked.

On the tray ready to bake

I have to say that all was going pretty well and I was feeling pretty smug. That is until I realized our new gas oven won’t stay at a low enough temperature! With a bit of fiddling we managed to get it under the minimum setting and continued with fingers crossed. The results? Well, they weren’t too bad in the end though maybe a little browner than a usual meringue. Himself was impressed (so was I just quietly) and we counted it a success. The only thing was what do you put with them? They were super sweet so needed something less sweet to balance them and obviously the usual cream accompaniment was out. The problem resolved itself fairly quickly though in the fact that himself gobbled them up before I came up with any feasible ideas.

I wasn’t that convinced about having the meringues as a dessert even with himself saying otherwise. Then I was reminded of a dessert my Mum made one time she stayed with us which involved meringue, custard and fruit. Maybe this would be a better option for our Christmas dessert. With rhubarb in season it would be the perfect balance to all that sugar. I hadn’t actually made it by myself, I have to say. When Mum did make it with me I had an almost two year old ‘helping’ and was pregnant with our second so the memory of it was a bit scratchy to say the least. This didn’t stop me sharing the recipe with family though so I thought I should probably give it a go myself.

Another internet search for vegan custard and we were away laughing, so to speak. Basically the recipe is a layering of fruit, cold custard and uncooked meringue which then gets baked in the oven at a low temperature (30mins at 120C). Mum had peaches in hers but as I mentioned I thought it needed a bit of balancing with something less sweet. The local markets obliged nicely with some fresh rhubarb which I stewed up minus sugar (our usual way of having it) and then got the custard brewing so both of them could have time to cool. The final steps were whizzing the meringue up and layer it all before baking. The result wasn’t that great to look at (I’m blaming the temperature of my oven again for the brown top and the fact that vegan custard is white rather than yellow) but the taste was great and a win all round.

Not the prettiest but the taste made up for it

Because I don’t really want to be in the kitchen all day on Christmas day I’ve decided that instead of the baked version I am going to do an ‘Eton Mess’ style in a glass. I’ll make the meringues the day before … and hide them! … along with the stewed fruit and custard. Then on the day people can just stack and layer how they like into a glass. Well that is the plan anyway πŸ™‚

As I write this ‘recipe’ I do wonder why I actually write about food on here. I’m certainly not the greatest of chefs that is for sure and I certainly don’t have all the brightest and best gadgets nor all the best solutions. I guess though I’m trying to share that if I can do it and have some fun then so can you! Thank goodness for all those real foodies out there is all I can say!

Hope this finds you experimenting and enjoying the luxury of having enough to eat.




Home comforts of GF bread on the road


I have been craving a bit of carbs lately and so have been digging up a few of my favourite recipes. This bread is so easy and delicious I thought I would share it again. Rather than inventing the wheel though I’m taking the easy way out and re-blogging my original post πŸ™‚ The Gluten free flours can be changed up as you like too … I now use quinoa instead of chickpea flour in this recipe and it still tastes just as good. From August 2017, when we were still living on the bus rather than just holidaying in it ……

So, I know … it has been a while since I posted, longer than I planned anyway.  It seems that one down side to bus life in Winter is the reduced solar power we have.  My old laptop is the one thing on the bus that needs to be plugged into a regular (i.e. not solar) plug and sucks up the power fast which means that I either have to duck into the library to use it for any length of time or wait until a sunny day! Well here it is a sunny Sunday afternoon and I thought I would get onto a blog post at last.

Themselves in the bus … looking south to Oaro

We are just back from a quick overnighter down the coast.  It was only 30 mins away and yet with SH1 closed it was such an awesome break.  Parked up right on the beach without the hum of traffic made us all feel very spoilt and themselves spent hours on the rocky shore exploring and playing.  It is wonderful having our home with us where ever we travel and being able to have those home comforts too.  One home comfort I have been enjoying lately is some homemade Gluten Free bread (and toast).  The shop stuff is good but it usually comes a quite a price and invariably gives me a bad case of wind …. enough said!!

Slices so well and I even got an ‘It looks just like shop bread’ seal of approval comment.

Anyway … this recipe is one that I shared last year but if you are like me and completely forgot about it while basking in the Summer sun then here it is again.  Actually I have a lovely mum from one of Infant Massage Courses to thank for the reminder and I’m so glad she did.  This loaf recipe is super easy!!  It is my favourite kind of recipe in fact … the chuck it all in and bake kind ;).  I have changed it only a little since last time so as to accommodate my vegan child however you can’t really tell anything is different and it makes a fantastic loaf.  This GF loaf will last quite a few days in an airtight container, slices really well and can be frozen for toasting later.  I have to say, with many other recipes tried and tested, that this really is my favourite Gluten Free bread recipe. Hope you enjoy it too.

Gluten Free Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 8 tsp black chia seeds
  • 8 tsp boiling water
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

– In a large bowl whisk the water and yeast and leave for 10 minutes to activate.

– Add all dry ingredients apart from chia seeds and mix well

– Mix chia seeds and boiling water then add to bread mixture with the oil.

– Mix well and pour into a lined bread tin.

– Leave to rise for 10-15 mins.  It doesn’t rise much on baking so if you want a bigger loaf then leave it to rise longer before cooking.

– Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes.


Hope this finds you happy, healthy and warm,  possibly enjoying some yummy GF toast πŸ˜‰